Just as polls show that American public opinion has turned against a ban on so-called assault weapons, comes a push from Democrats on Capitol Hill and gun-control forces to reintroduce such a ban. I’ve got a post at Cato at Liberty with many links on why the shift in public views is backed by solid evidence.
- Judge Posner cites a Cato amicus brief: Cook County sheriff can’t browbeat Visa and MasterCard into dropping business with sex ad site [Ilya Shapiro, Eugene Volokh] And Daniel Fisher speculates that Posner’s thoughts on how far law enforcers can push around private actors on First Amendment-related subject matter (but without filing charges against them) might carry over to Eric Schneiderman’s ExxonMobil climate-advocacy inquisition [Forbes]
- “How To Blog: A Primer (And Not A Boring Primer, Either)” [Jim Dedman, Abnormal Use]
- What the campus protests are about: power [Jonathan Last, Weekly Standard]
- Eric Turkewitz draws a connection between the debate on guns and my recent work on redistricting, and Ken White at Popehat has more on the debate on guns;
- Vibrations from “ridge-like” BMW motorcycle seat said to have had unwanted stimulative effect on male user [Marin Independent Journal]
- Why are Republicans not moving to block Department of Justice settlement slush funds “funneling more than half-a-billion dollars to liberal activist groups” that in some cases route dollars “back to programs that congressional Republicans deliberately stripped of funds”? [Kim Strassel, WSJ]
- What happens at CLE stays at CLE: doings get wild at a famous mass torts seminar in Las Vegas [Above the Law]
- Supreme Court has blocked for now “an election with racial qualifications that could eventually establish a new government for so-called ‘native Hawaiians.'” [Ilya Shapiro/Cato, earlier on Hawaiian tribalization here, here, etc.]
- Some scholars seem a bit evasive about historic British use of gun control to disarm minority religionists [David Kopel]
- Occupational licensure and Connecticut teeth-whitening case: does mere protection of incumbents against competition count as “rational basis” for government action? [Timothy Sandefur, Cato]
- Class actions: some predict Court not likely to do much more than tinker [Alison Frankel, Paul Karlsgodt]
- Update: “California woman who bought Eurail pass in US can’t sue here for Austrian accident, SCOTUS says” [ABA Journal, earlier]
- Supreme Court should defend interstate commerce against extraterritorial Colorado law providing that electric power entering state must have been generated in certain ways [Ilya Shapiro and Randal John Meyer]
- “Old, cryptic, or vague” 14th Amendment: Judge Posner can’t have his Constitution and eat it too, thinks Josh Blackman.
The policy analysis examines several gun control proposals which have been promoted by the Obama administration and the gun control lobby: bans on so-called assault weapons; bans on standard magazines; confiscation; and the prohibition of all private sales, loans and returns, except when processed by a gun store [and explains] why each of these proposals is likely to do little good and much harm….
Also at Cato, Trevor Burrus responds to an otherwise predictable editorial on gun control that the New York Times elected to print on its front page:
Not only do victims of mass shootings constitute one percent or fewer of gun deaths (depending on how “mass shooting” is defined), but the perpetrators of mass shootings are the hardest to affect with public policy changes…. Mass shooters are the quintessence of an over-motivated criminal, and in a country with over 300 million guns, there are very few (if any) realistic gun control laws that could stop mass shooters. Policy proposals that focus on identifying would-be mass shooters and protecting would-be victims of mass shooters have a much better chance of succeeding than any proposal that focuses on guns.
Jonah Goldberg at National Review reacts to the same editorial, while James Taranto has this on Twitter: “The New York Times today published the newspaper’s opinion in the front page. The last time it did that was yesterday.”
Since last week’s slaughter by a radicalized Islamist couple of 14 employees at a gathering of county health employees in San Bernardino, you’ve almost certainly seen people claim that the U.S. has had 355 mass shootings this year. A Mother Jones editor (of all people) in the NYT (of all places) explains why a more accurate number would be 4. And the Washington Post “Fact Checker,” after awarding Two Pinocchios to President Obama for his claim that “this [kind of mass shooting] just doesn’t happen in other countries” has gone on to examine his claim that “We know that states with the most gun laws tend to have the fewest gun deaths” and finds the evidence “not as clear cut as the president claims”: “We wavered between Two and Three Pinocchios, but in the end settled on Two.”
“At least 72 employees at the Department of Homeland Security are listed on the U.S. terrorist watch list, according to a Democratic lawmaker.” [Adam Kredo, Free Beacon] Critics, including the ACLU, have complained that the list inadvertently sweeps in large numbers of innocent persons who are given no legal right to contest their inclusion.
More:”My Fellow Liberals, Don’t Support Obama’s Terror Watch List Gun Ban” [Cathy Gellis, The Daily Beast]
David Kopel writes that “background check” laws pushed by the Bloomberg anti-gun campaign in states like Colorado and Washington have weird effects, whether intended is not entirely clear, on such topics as safe storage of firearms, the sharing of firearms during informal target shooting, and the legality of handgun possession by 18-21 year olds. This might be a sub-instance of a related problem noted by Glenn Reynolds at USA Today: “Gun-control laws have a tendency of turning into criminals peaceable citizens whom the state has no reason to have on its radar.”
- Manufacturing while foreign: Holman Jenkins compares Department of Justice’s handling of General Motors case with those of Toyota and Takata [WSJ, paywall]
- “Electronic surveillance by the Drug Enforcement Administration has tripled over the past 20 years, and much of that increase has involved bypassing the federal courts.” [Brad Heath, USA Today via Balko]
- Sen. Hatch: criminal justice reform needs to include reform on issue of mens rea/criminal intent [John Malcolm, Daily Signal]
- Clinton administration tended to embed its anti-gun gestures in its then-popular carceral-state enactments [Jesse Walker on the 12-year lull in anti-gun legislation and whether it’s ending]
- New DoJ policy on corporate criminal prosecutions risks scapegoating [Thaya Knight, Cato] Despite transient surge early in Obama years, federal white-collar crime prosecutions have now fallen to 20-year low [TRAC Reports]
- A legal remedy should federal law enforcers falsely malign you in a press release? Dream on [Scott Greenfield]
- If you oppose high U.S. incarceration rate, but wish more corporate executives went to prison, check your premises [Matt Kaiser, Above the Law]
On this site, constitutional experts interact with each other to explore the Constitution’s history and what it means today. For each provision of the Constitution, scholars of different perspectives discuss what they agree upon, and what they disagree about. These experts were selected with the guidance of leaders of two prominent constitutional law organizations — The American Constitution Society and The Federalist Society.
The writers include many familiar names and every contribution I’ve read so far, on both sides of questions, has been of high quality.
The topic came up again at Tuesday’s Democratic debate, and even if Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) hesitated to defend his vote in favor of the gun-lawsuit-curbing Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), I’m happy to defend it for him at Cato. More: David Freddoso, Washington Examiner, Adam Lidgett, International Business Times. Earlier on PLCAA and Hillary Clinton last week and more generally on the law.
P.S. Although some critics of PLCAA describe it as if it were some sort of absolute and across-the-board bar to liability, the law in fact is carefully crafted to permit liability across a range of situations. Taking advantage of one of those exceptions, plaintiffs just obtained a $6 million verdict against a Wisconsin gun dealer that they argued had winked at evidence that a customer was really a “straw buyer” purchasing a firearm for someone else. More: Jacob Sullum; George Leef/Forbes.
- Surprised this story of interstate lawsuit exposure hasn’t had national coverage: “Texas docs threaten to stop seeing New Mexico patients” [Hobbs, N.M., News]
- More on the Daraprim episode and the fiasco of FDA generic-drug regulation [Watchdog, earlier here and here] More: Ira Stoll/N.Y. Sun;
- Warrants, HIPAA be damned: Drug Enforcement Administration agents pose as Texas medical board to get at patient records [Jon Cassidy/Watchdog, Tim Cushing/TechDirt via Radley Balko]
- Litigation finance and champerty: the reaction is under way [MathBabe, earlier on pelvic and transvaginal mesh surgery speculation]
- No longer alas a surprise to see JAMA Pediatrics running lame, politicized content on topics like “youth gun carrying” [Jacob Sullum]
- “Shame, blame, and defame”: in alcohol regulation as in other public health fields, government-funded research can look a lot like advocacy [Edward Peter Stringham, The Hill]
- More adventures in public health: study finds dry counties in Kentucky have bigger problems with methamphetamine [Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post “WonkBlog”]